On January 1, 2018, New York State will implement a new Paid Family Leave Benefits Law (PFL). The PFL will apply to most employers – including nonprofit employers – and will provide qualifying employees with paid family leave or sick leave, and job reinstatement when the employee returns to work. Examples of situations for which an employee might qualify for paid leave under the PFL are to:

  • Provide care for a family member with a serious health condition
  • Bond after the birth or placement of a child
  • Address family needs after a family member is called to active military service

Employers will not be required to self-fund paid family leave. Instead, they will be required to purchase additional paid family leave insurance coverage as part of their current disability benefit insurance plan. Employers may recoup the cost of such coverage through modest deductions from employee pay. Under contribution rates set by New York State in June 2017, the maximum an employee may be required to contribute to PFL is 0.126% of the employee’s weekly wage, up to and not to exceed 0.126% of the statewide average weekly wage, currently $1,305.92. Employers may begin collecting these payroll contributions as of July 1, 2017 and use the contributions to help partially pre-fund their 2018 insurance premiums.

What To Do Now

Pro Bono Partnership recommends that all New York employers contact their New York State disability insurance carrier and payroll service to learn more about their options for paid family leave insurance for their New York employees. Employers may wish to begin collecting payroll contributions this summer to help prepare for their 2018 insurance premium payments.

The details of the PFL are still being finalized and it’s possible there will be changes to the law before it is implemented in January 2018. The Partnership will issue further detailed guidance on complying with the law once it is finalized, and will also host a webinar on the PFL this fall.